In contrast to Dundee and Glasgow, Barcelona as soon as had an “epidemic” of drug-related deaths.
Nonetheless, the Spanish metropolis has managed to considerably cut back these deaths, and consumption rooms have been on the coronary heart of this transition.
The Affiliation for Welfare and Improvement (Asociación bienestar y desarrollo or ABD in Spanish) helped open the primary consumption rooms in Barcelona.
The primary of those, CAS Baluard, opened in 2005 and presents protected and clear supplies and medical supervision.
Customers also can take a look at the drug earlier than ingesting to verify it isn’t contaminated with different substances, together with guidelines to make sure a safer expertise, akin to a 30-minute wait time between injections.
Groups of docs and nurses have efficiently prevented the deaths of each overdose that has taken place at Cas Baluard in almost twenty years.
Esther Aranda, deputy director of the group for medicine and well being, stated consumption rooms are an necessary “a part of the healthcare community” wanted to assist drug customers.
She stated: “Deadly overdoses are few now and there was an epidemic in Barcelona with drug-related deaths.
“It is a hurt discount method, but additionally a preventive method, and typically consumption rooms permit us to get to people who find themselves beginning to inject medicine and you may attempt to get them to vary the best way they inject.
“If you do not have a service, you are solely reaching out to individuals who have already got a giant drawback.”
In 2021, Cas Baluard served a complete of 1,362 individuals and recorded 58,793 protected injection room makes use of through the yr.
These services also can function a “step between consumption and remedy” because the group of nurses, docs and different professionals supply a variety of assist at Cas Baluard.
And if individuals cease remedy, they may typically return to consumption rooms, which may assist them get again on the “lengthy highway” to restoration when they’re surrounded by additional assist.
Crucially, it allowed them to deal with what was an epidemic of deaths as a well being disaster, and likewise gave them a greater thought of the “actuality” of drug use within the metropolis.
Ms Aranda added: “Earlier than the companies, nobody knew what number of customers they’d. With hurt discount companies, you possibly can see the fact.”
Because of this the NGO has been capable of monitor adjustments in patterns of drug use, together with the latest enhance in methamphetamine use within the metropolis, and be sure that their applications are tailored accordingly.
“It’s important to adapt and actually know what well being issues are related to these individuals and with such use with the intention to supply good remedy,” added Ms Aranda. “It is all linked.”
Protected Consumption Rooms additionally assist handle different well being issues, together with stabilizing the “HIV epidemic” amongst drug customers.
She added: “You probably have psychological issues, you might have a service. If you happen to want meals, you might have your companies. If it’s a must to work with a health care provider, you might have a main care middle.
“If you happen to use medicine, you will need to have your service.”
The important thing to its success was incorporating it into town middle somewhat than attempting to divert the issue to the outskirts of town.
“Hurt discount companies ought to be the place there are drug customers,” the deputy director stated. “I am not going to purchase a beer ten kilometers from town and return to the bar. This isn’t logical conduct. “
Together with the operation of one other consumption room for drug customers who smoke substances akin to heroin and cocaine, which opened 5 years after Casa Baloir, ABD emphasizes the significance of social inclusion.
This contains working in a neighborhood backyard the place customers can really feel like they’re “doing one thing, doing one thing in teams, doing one thing for the neighborhood, and doing one thing with the neighborhood”.
She added that the neighborhood backyard helped “change the best way society treats drug customers.”
“I believe the largest barrier to together with drug customers in communities is stigma.
“However you want time, you make social change. Social change would not occur in a single day.”